Organized Panel Session
This paper scrutinizes the representation of gender and war experiences in seventeenth-century mongyurok (records of a dreamer’s journey), addressing in particular their contribution to a widening of the Korean literary landscape and writing practice of the time. These tales liberated the suppressed voices of war victims, weaving their individual pain and loss into a broader discourse on war, rife with trenchant criticism of those responsible. I investigate how the dream journey records succeed in drawing such powerful public messages from personal experiences and thus evolve into a strongly critical narrative and a collective releasing of han (grudge). Focusing on female revenants and their mode of storytelling in the Kangdo mongyurok (Record of a Dreamer’s Journey to Kangdo), I demonstrate how narrative elements, particularly the evocation of sound and the interplay of different ontological realms, foster both social criticism and individual han-releasing. The theatricality of ghostly sounds and performances in the narrative transforms a dismal (post-)war reality into an auditorium for voices offering change and healing to both the dead and the living. This powerful storytelling invigorated mimetic interest and provided viable supernatural meta-narratives, driving literary evolution forward.